M K Ramadoss
APPEAL FROM AMERICAN SECTION – SOME COMMENTS ---
Bro. Hebert is facing a Tsunami such has never seen by TS. Our support and sympathies and prayers are there to help her to navigate current unusual and unforeseen situation. However, there are certain points that are worth discussing in the hope they will be helpful going forward.
1. US Government has two financial programs to help businesses to keep employees on their payroll and continuing financing of the operations. First one – Payroll Protection Program (PPP) distributed 2-1/2 months’ salaries and utilities etc with the money to become grant if employees are retained. Yes, this is a very short term help. Yet it is very timely. Second is a Long Term loan to help operating expenses.
From information that was seen on Internet, it seems PPP loan was approved and there is no confirmation yet from TSA. It is estimated to be $325,000+ based on past payroll information publicly available. Since every entity in USA has applied for it, the information seems credible.
It is not known if TSA has applied for the long term and much larger Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
2. TSA had $16.9 million in the Theosophical Investment Trust and its principal and earnings are available for any use. Money in the bank is to be used for emergencies. That is what you and me do when there is a family emergency. With such funds, it is sad that a decision was taken to furlough employees.
2. Kern Foundation has been consistently donating $1Million plus annually for spreading Theosophy. Due to covid19 it is bound to shrink drastically.
3. Much of the budget of TSA is spent on staff salaries and benefits top to bottom. Even Tim Boyd was paid for his lecture and consultation last year. He may be continuing to be paid.
We need to look to early days of TS. All the workers, including HPB, Olcott, Judge, Besant etc were all unpaid volunteers who gave prime of their lives and all their money, the love of theosophy and that is how TS grew.
Dedicated unpaid volunteers outperform salaried employees ten to one. So future with paid employees – top down – does not look good. So TSA has to live with a very much reduced income and use more volunteers.
4. Covid19 pandemic is expected to last two years. Recovery this year is going to be slow and is affecting everyone – you and me. So a transparent long term plan is needed.
5. The operating expenses have to be drastically reduced. One expense which stands out is the fees paid to outside accountants. Last year it was $131,394 and this is in addition to well paid in-house accounting staff. In some prior years it was even higher. Accountants do not spread theosophy. Members need to be educated how expensive outside accountants are helping spread theosophy.
6. Covid19 has shown that many of the administrative tasks can be remotely performed. This opens up the opportunity to recruit volunteers with dedication to theosophy and skills. Surely we can find them. However, if the top officials are not volunteers but salaried employees, why would any theosophist volunteer? Leaders should set the tone.
7. Current business model with a big budget will not fit into the future. Bro. Hebert has a great once in a life time opportunity to put TSA on a diet and turn it around as a great dynamic organization with unpaid unselfish volunteers. Leadership has to come from the top. The choice is in her hands.
Let us send our prayers of support to her and we can be confident that the support and blessings of the Elder Brethren will be always be there if right decisions are taken.